Rediscovering Downtown Oakland: Sandwiches

3 Mar

cam-huongI never used to be a big sandwich fan, until I started in working in downtown Oakland. There are so many places in the DTO to get a great sandwich, and so many varieties. From Vietnamese to vegan, exotic wraps to traditional deli, there’s bound to be a sandwich in downtown Oakland that you’ll love. Here are the places I head to when I’m looking for a quick and filling lunch.

Cam Huong – Webster Street between 9th and 10th

I wrote about Cam Huong’s delicious sandwiches last year and I don’t have much to add:

If you haven’t been to Cam Huong, well, stop what you’re doing right now and go! Really, when we hire new staff at my office, this is one of the first places I take people – it’s basically part of our office orientation. The crunch and flavor of their sandwiches are incredible. And you cannot find a cheaper lunch in Oakland – $2.50 – $3.00 for a HUGE sandwich… Head on down to Chinatown and look for the line coming out the door. Don’t be too intimidated though – the line moves quickly, and it’s well worth the wait.

Big Apple Cafe – 14th Street at Franklin (main entrance on Franklin)

I’ve been going to Big Apple Cafe for years, and I’m not going to lie – the sandwiches aren’t the main reason I go there. Sure, the deli style sandwiches are yummy, filling, cheap, and made quickly, but they’re nothing amazing. The reason I keep going back is because of the great service and enjoyable staff who work there. Amazingly, after four years of going there, most of the original staff still work there. They quickly recognize regular customers and might force some free samples on you at the end of the day. So head over to Big Apple for a sandwich, and return for the excellent service.

Red Door Cafe – 14th Street between Webster and Harrison

About a year ago, the smoothie place that used to occupy this spot closed down, which made me and my coworkers very sad. But then something incredible happened. Within a few weeks of it closing, the Red Door Cafe had moved in and opened for business – I think it was the quickest restaurant opening I’ve ever witnessed in downtown Oakland. And the sweet owner/operator kept a few of the best smoothies on the menu, in honor of the previous business. But the smoothies aren’t the reason to go to the Red Door. The reason to go is for the wraps, which are all delicious, especially the falafel wrap.

The Red Door has comfortable chairs and a nice atmosphere, but the service is very slow so be ready to have a long, relaxing lunch. If you’re in a hurry, I recommend calling in and picking up your lunch. The only other downside to this place is their limited hours. They close around 2pm on weekdays and aren’t open at all on weekends.

The Breakroom Cafe – 13th at Harrison & Rico’s Diner – 15th at Franklin

Read the full reviews for The Breakroom and Rico’s at my post covering vegetarian restaurants in the DTO. Both of these places have excellent sandwiches.

6 Responses to “Rediscovering Downtown Oakland: Sandwiches”

  1. das88 March 3, 2009 at 9:15 am #

    Wow, it is hard to believe a post about sandwiches in the DTO left out Ratto’s.

    I have been meaning to try the Red Door. I think I’ll give it a go today- thanks for the heads up.

  2. Becks March 3, 2009 at 10:06 am #

    Though I’ve heard much about Ratto’s, I’ve never been there because it’s just too far to make it on my lunch break (I’d have to run down there, grab a sandwich, and run back). It sounds like I’ll have to try it at some point based on the reviews I’ve heard.

  3. Joanna March 3, 2009 at 12:42 pm #

    Mmmmm, Ratto’s. I love it when my friend bikes over there to get me a sandwich. One of the best!

  4. jennconspiracy March 3, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

    I went to Cam Huong a few weeks ago at the recommendation of someone on Yelp who saw my review of LIttle Saigon deli (near my work) – I was impressed – $2.50 got me an awesome sandwich!

  5. erocking March 4, 2009 at 2:32 pm #

    The Off-Broadway Cafe (on 15th between Broadway and Franklin) has a great sandwich called “The Santa Fe”. I don’t know if the rest of the sandwiches are any good because I had the Santa Fe the first time I went and never ordered anything but that ever again.

  6. Andy March 12, 2009 at 11:23 am #

    ib hoagies for me.

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